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Submerge Yourself in Google’s Stunning Underwater Street Views

To celebrate World Oceans Day, Google invites us to experience our planet’s aquatic beauty firsthand.

image via youtube screen capture

Despite their covering most of this planet’s surface, and containing nearly all its water, we oftentimes take our oceans for granted. Sure, we admire them from afar, occasionally floating atop them on cruise ships or fishing boats. We might even dip a toe into their waters while spending a day at the beach. By and large, however, the vast majority of us have never strapped on scuba gear and actually spent time submerged in Earth’s watery depths. Regardless of their sheer planetary magnitude, the oceans are, for many of us, a complete unknown.

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Scientists Capture Incredible Images of Bizarre Deep Sea Creatures

Some of these creatures are so unfamiliar to us, we don’t even have names for them yet.

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In some ways, we know less about our oceans than we do about outer space.

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Occasionally something amazing comes from a simple conversation between two surfers. One day earlier this year, Ian Glover, who runs a Bay Area surf camp, was chatting with longtime local board shaper Tim Gras, who also works as a community organizer in the largest housing project in San Francisco.
A simple idea hatched. Ian has the resources and people power to take lots of kids surfing in Marin and Tim has access to kids who could use a fun day at the beach, some of whom may have never seen the ocean—despite living a couple of miles from it. Together they arranged for a group of these kids to go surfing a few weeks later. The kids loved it and Ian and Tim started plotting the next trip. I heard about all the fun they were having and I had to get in on the action too. I'm a surf photographer and filmmaker and I pitched the idea to my company, Micro Documentaries, of doing a pro bono film about these special days.
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Can Your Beach Vacation Make You Sick?

When I started visiting our Santa Monica office, I was thrilled to get up early (I was on East Coast time) and go down to the beach to body...

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When I started visiting our Santa Monica office, I was thrilled to get up early and go down to the beach to body surf. It was well worth braving the cold water, because sometimes I’d be joined by a dolphin or sea lion. My California colleagues, however, were not so enthusiastic about my morning swim. Polluted water from storm drains, they warned me, contaminated the beach in some places. Rashes, pinkeye, stomach bugs, respiratory infections, meningitis, hepatitis—any one of these can strike an unlucky beachgoer who gets into dirty water. In fact, researchers have estimated that across Southern California, anywhere from 600,000 to four million beachgoers come down with a gastrointestinal ailment each year.

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As I paddle out into the chilly, kelpy clutches of the Monterey Bay, the sun peeks over the Aptos hills and fills the morning with a golden glow. Glassy head-high waves wash through the line-up, and an otter appears with a fresh catch of a kelp crab next to me. At no point do I take this experience for granted. I understand that this moment in time and this experience are special and worth protecting. It is moments and coasts like these that Save The Waves Coalition (STW) strives to protect worldwide.

Many times in the past, STW has opposed governments making ill-advised development projects that destroy the waves and the coastal environment. We’ve done it vocally and vociferously, and we’ll likely do it again when another piece of surfing coast around the world is under threat. However, we prefer to be forward-thinking and to work proactively on preserving and protecting our coastal heritage for generations, rather than acting in reactive opposition. This has led us to develop new creative strategies for coastal protection; namely the use of economics and surfing protected areas.

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The Terramar Project: Become a Citizen and Protector of the High Seas

For anybody whose heart belongs to the seas, here's a chance to claim citizenship to our planet’s international waters.

Who owns the seas? For 64 percent of the world's oceans—the amount that lies beyond national jurisdictions—the answer is no one. The high seas, as they're known, are like the planet's commons: since they don't really belong to anyone, no nation invests enough in offering them the protection they deserve, even though they constitute 45 percent of the planet's surface area. A coalition of NGOs, scientists, and activists called the TerraMar Project aims to reconfigure our relationship with the high seas by offering the opportunity to become a "citizen" of an imaginary aquatic nation.

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